Death of cow elephants:Wildlife Dept. still to determine cause of death | Daily News


Death of cow elephants:Wildlife Dept. still to determine cause of death

Wildlife Department Director General Chandana Sooriyabandara yesterday told the Daily News that they have not yet reached a conclusion about the cause of death of cow elephants that have died under suspicious circumstances near the Hiriwadunna tank in Habarana.

Seven cow elephants, one pregnant, have died over the past week in the forest reserves of Thumbikulama and the adjacent Habarana Hiriwadunna Lake near Sigiriya.

Four elephant carcasses were found on September 27 near the Thumbikulama Reserve while the other cow elephants were found dead within a three kilometre radius from the Hiriwadunna Lake, Wildlife officers confirmed.

Asked if the Wildlife Department had or had not carried out the autopsies of the dead elephants as yet to determine the cause of the deaths, Sooriyabandara said that they had taken body tissue samples from the animals to be sent to the Government Analysts’ Department, the Government Veterinary Institute and the Veterinary Faculty of the Peradeniya University.

“We just have to wait and see as to what caused the deaths of the cow elephants,” he said. Asked for his comments on various speculations surrounding the cause of death of the elephants and whether they could have been poisoned by the villagers, he said, “if you are asking me, whether there’s a human hand in all this, I should say yes, because humans have encroached the habitats of the elephants.

“The problem boils down to that in most ways,” he said.

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